The Nazi gold train thought to have been discovered in southern Poland could be booby-trapped, a minister in Poland’s culture ministry has warned would-be treasure hunters.
Pawel Zuchowski, who is in charge of conservation, told reporters he was "convinced" of the existence of the train.
He said: "I appeal to people looking for the train to stop until official proceedings to make the find safe have finished. There is a high probability the train is mined."
There have also been reports that the military has cordoned off the area surrounding the train.
Stripping away further speculation surrounding the train's existence, Zuchowski told reporters on Friday that a person who claimed he helped load the gold train in 1945 said in a "deathbed statement" that it is secured with explosives.
The person, who was not identified, had also indicated the probable location of the train, he said.
He went on that he has been shown a blurred image from a ground-penetrating radar which depicted the shape of a train platform and cannons.
Calling the train an "exceptional" potential discovery, he added: "We will be 100 per cent sure only when we find the train."
Mr Zuchowski said he observed an increase in treasure hunting activity in the Polish city of Wałbrzych, where the alleged discovery was made, walbrzych24.com reports.
The treasure hunters’ lawyer, Jaroslaw Chmielewski, said they provided local authorities with a description of the train carriage, which is 120-150 metres long.
Since the end of the Second World War, there have been stories that a train filled with gold and other treasures that disappeared near Ksiaz castle, two miles from Wałbrzych.
Local lore also says that the Nazis used concentration camp inmates to build a vast underground network to hide Third Reich valuables, code-named ‘Riese’, the German word for ‘giant’.
While the purpose of the tunnels has remained unclear, some believe they may have been intended for use as military headquarters or weapons research facilities.
Others have also suggested that the gold may not be in gold blocks, but could be from tooth fillings removed from individuals sent to Nazi extermination camps, according to The Telegraph.
Treblinka, one of the Nazis’ death camps in occupied Poland, produced two suitcases containing eight to 10 kilos of teeth each week, according to a testimony from the tooth puller of Treblinka.
More information is likely to be released from the treasure hunters in the coming weeks.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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